The Silence of the Lambs

Synopsis: FBI trainee Clarice Starling works hard to advance her career, including trying to hide or put behind her West Virginia roots, of which if some knew would automatically classify her as being backward or white trash. After graduation, she aspires to work in the agency's Behavioral Science Unit under the leadership of Jack Crawford. While she is still a trainee, Crawford does ask her to question Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist imprisoned thus far for eight years in maximum security isolation for being a serial killer, he who cannibalized his victims. Clarice is able to figure out the assignment is to pick Lecter's brains to help them solve another serial murder case, that of someone coined by the media as Buffalo Bill who has so far killed five victims, all located in the eastern US, all young women who are slightly overweight especially around the hips, all who were drowned in natural bodies of water, and all who were stripped of large swaths of skin. She also figures that Crawford
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director(s): Jonathan Demme
Production: Orion Pictures Corporation
  Won 5 Oscars. Another 54 wins & 44 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
118 min



A woman's face BACKS INTO SHOT, her head resting against

grimy wallpaper. She is tense, sweaty, wide-eyed with

concentration. This is CLARICE STARLING, mid-20's, trim,

very pretty. She wears Kevlar body armor over a navy

windbreaker, khaki pants. Her thick hair is piled under a

navy baseball cap. A revolver, clutched in her right hand,

hovers by her ear. She raises a speedloader, in her left

hand, locks it into her cylinder, twists and reloads.


A guest room door, with a small, wired pack attached to its

knob. Suddenly, wish a sharp CRACK!, the knob explodes, and

the door bursts open.


as she runs around a corner, through a cloud of smoke. She

shoulders aside the shattered door and rushes inside, gun at

the ready in both hands...



CLARICE'S POV - MOVING - as she first sees, sitting on the

edge of a bed - a FEMALE HOSTAGE. Black, late 20's, gagged,

hands behind her back. Then, SWIVELLING... she sees a startled

MALE SUSPECT, white, mid-20's, standing by a window with a

rifle in his hands. He is turning towards her...

Clarice drops into a combat crouch, gun extended, and shouts.


Freeze! FBI!


all natural SOUND suspended - as the Suspect faces her with

a strange, pleading expression. The rifle is rising in his

hands, but oddly enough, it is held across his chest, not

pointing. Then another puzzling detail registers...


are taped to his gun, away from the trigger; he couldn't use

it even if he tried. Suddenly we hear a metallic CLICK, which

registers with unnatural amplification, as - Clarice reacts,

drops to the floor, rolling sideways, and -


pulls a revolver out from behind her back, still in SLOW

MOTION, raising it in her untied hands. She fires repeatedly,

flames leaping from the muzzle; the SOUND is an echoing roar

in these close quarters, but -

Clarice has come up on one knee, beside an armchair, and is

already firing back herself, two quick SHOTS, which send -


pitching over the bed, backwards, to shudder and lie still

in a haze of gunsmoke. Clarice rushes to her, clamping one

knee down on her gun hand, still keeping her covered in case

of movement. HOLD for a few beats... then we hear the shrill

blast of a WHISTLE from somewhere, off screen, as normal

ACTION and SOUND are restored.


Okay, people, good exercise...

Clarice relaxes, lowering her gun. The lights brighten.


we see that we're in some sort of auditorium, with the "hotel

room" and its "corridor" built as a training set. JOHN BRIGHAM

walks onto this set, thumbing a stopwatch. Mid-40's, ex-

Marine. His T-shirt's lettering says "Firearms Instructor /

FBI Academy."

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Ted Tally

Ted Tally (born April 9, 1952) is an American playwright and screenwriter. A graduate of Yale, he has received awards including the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, the Writers Guild of America Award, the Chicago Film Critics Award, and the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. more…

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Submitted on April 07, 2016


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"The Silence of the Lambs" STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 9 Dec. 2019. <>.

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